Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to say on Monday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
Opening statement: As you all well know, the third week of the preseason, typically most teams will treat it as if they're preparing for a game in the regular season. You won't be able to do everything, because some of the rules dictate otherwise, but you can get as close as you possibly can. It is extremely important, because of the fact that it's all new. Typically, if you've been in a place for a little while, guys adjust and know what to expect, but here in this particular case it's foreign to them. So, we have to adjust to give them as much (of a simulation) as we possibly can of what it's going to look like. From a meeting standpoint, time on the field, what happens in between meetings and things of that nature and try and go into a fair amount of detail. You can't cover every detail in this small time period, but nevertheless, it's an important one for us. You have to give them a real good taste of how we do things because it's going to make a difference when we get into our routines. We want to make certain that they'll function in those well and that they're somewhat familiar with them, obviously because in a few weeks we'll be right at it, getting ready to face the Giants. So, it's pretty important that they go through it at this time. These guys have adapted extremely well to everything we've done and they won't be completely foreign to them, because some things like practice schedule, how the practice works, there's not a big difference, in terms of how we practice, in our periods and things of that nature. But, it is when you have certain teams look to you, so it's a little bit of a twist to it. But I think they'll adjust to it."
On if WR Calvin Johnson will play Friday vs. JAX: "We plan to get him some work this week, but that's today that I'm telling you that. Towards the end of the week, if something adjusts where we have to adjust here and there, it could be that with a number of guys, but we plan to get him some work this week."
On if DE Ezekiel Ansah will play Friday vs. JAX: "I'm not certain, the medical staff will look at him, even though he's off of PUP, we're still going to bring him along according to what he can handle from a physical standpoint. So, we'll get a sense of that, he's doing a little bit more today in practice and he'll do a little bit more tomorrow and then we'll see what happens come game day."
On if there is a preset plan for first team reps in the game: "Certainly. We're going to go a little while, but everybody is tailored differently to every guy that's on the first team offense or the first team defense. Not everyone's going to get the exact, same amount that's why I'm kind of reluctant to tell you. I'll tell you guys and you'll look at it as ‘well so-and-so didn't play, what happened, why, were you unsatisfied with his work,' well no that's not the case. Everybody's a little different, for me to go through each guy would be a waste of time. It wouldn't be beneficial for you guys or me and me moreso than you guys. Nevertheless, we plan to take them through the typical scenario, which isn't etched in stone. Your first team offense and defense will go through the half (and) come back out after the half, because it's the first opportunity they've had to do so. So, that's typically the way, but it's not a blanket for everybody on our offense or blanket for everybody on our defense. Some of the guys may not play in the second half, but for the most part that's the way we plan it."
On CB Rashean Mathis, on the field and in the locker room: "Extremely impressed. I've had a chance to compete against him for years when he was down in Jacksonville and he did a tremendous job. He was one of those guys that every week you played against him, you had to know where he was because he was very, very good in his craft. He'd intercept the ball and create problems for you in the run game. Along with length, as well as intelligence, he was a tough guy to deal with and I've come to appreciate him even more, now that I'm on the same team. He's smart, a consummate professional in every single facet. He works hard, he studies, he teaches the young guys, sets a great pace for them, he's always up for practice and meetings, he's a first class competitor. I mean you name it, this guy is a quality individual. So, in his leadership in the role that he plays for our team, is invaluable."
On his impression of RB George Winn and reps with special teams: "He is tough, plays hard, and he is hungry. We put him in some situations, we put him on special teams, to see how he would function within that realm. Because at that particular position, depends on where you line up as a running back, where you are on the depth chart. You're going to have to make strong contributions in the special team's area, in order to be a guy that will have an opportunity to hang around and make this team. So, that's one of the reasons that we put him in that position to see how he would do and how he would function and react and he performed well. Now, one game does not do it. This is the thing about this league, you'll be able to find - and I'm not necessarily referring to George but all across the board. You'll find guys that'll have a good game, you'll find guys that have a good season, but the ones that make a difference are the guys that every single day, every single week, every single game, year after year, that's what we're looking for and consistency is the thing that is key. We haven't had the opportunity to test a lot of guys in terms of consistency, that's what the value of this particular game coming up, the value of the following game and we'll have to make some pretty hard decisions."
On T Michael Williams and his progress in transition from tight end: "You know what, I've been impressed with him with the adjustment that he made. First of all, from an intellectual standpoint, it's very difficult to go from a position where you are out in space running routes and catching passes and blocking some to blocking all the time. Not getting your hands on the ball, it's a different mindset. In the trenches, there's contact on every single play, where there are a lot of positions that is not the case. That one is unique in itself. Offensive linemen and defensive linemen, I think you have to go through a psychological metamorphosis and play from where you've been previously, particularly, if you were outside of those particular areas. This guy has done it and he's done a nice job within it and he's getting better every week. Now, he was injured there for a little bit, but he was able to go and I've been impressed with him. So now, the key to it is that he's got to keep progressing and he's got to get better. What he did last week is not good enough this week, so we'll see how that goes."
On impact and factors in the decision-making for roster spots: I'll make this as a blanket statement, so please don't associate this statement directly with him. I'm in the business of winning games and winning games now. OK? So the most important thing to me is getting guys who can be in a position to help us win right now. There are other, businesses (and) positions within the organization that may look at it differently, but we have to look at it as coaches. We're looking for the best guy to help us win, at this particular moment in time, and that's what counts for us."
On the kickers and whether the decision is based on preseason games or practice: "There is no percentage associated with it but it's all taken into account. It really is, because you just don't have enough time, particularly at that particular spot. You get into situations where they kick an inordinate amount in the ball game, the two of them, to make a difference. You cannot orchestrate, necessarily, but in practice time we try and give them an opportunity to compete against one another and so we try to take every single thing into account. They're both kicking pretty well."
On what he's looking for in the backup receiver spots: "The ability to catch, block, understand your assignments thoroughly and the ability to deal with spatial awareness in the zone. They need to be able to create some space in man-to-man and obviously, be a little versatile too. Often times, you don't play in the exact same spot all the time, you move around quite a bit."
On impressions of the starting secondary: "We've been very solid in that area, our two safeties have been playing well, although sparingly up to this point. Obviously, we've been getting some production out of the corner position as well. (CB, Darius) Slay has been running around playing well and we talked about Rashean (Mathis) a little earlier. We've got some other young guys that are coming around and so I think every week is an opportunity for us to really get a sense of them. This week, they'll play a little bit longer, they'll be able to play together a little bit longer and we'll see how they function as a unit, but their progress as a unit has been good."
On his impressions of WR Kris Durham: "Kris is smart. He does a good job, just in terms of understanding the offense. He caught the ball well last week, he blocks for us well and we've been impressed with him. He works extremely hard, loves this game and has great passion for it."
On what he's looking for at the Fullback position: "It's a multi-faceted position for us. We're looking for a guy that has to certainly be able to lead block, from time to time. He has to do a good job of cutting off the backside, and often times that deals with not only blocking linebackers, but the in's as well. He's going to have to be stout and he's going to have to be able to catch the ball. We'll utilize him out of the backfield, not only for controlling the flat but for high-low, but on the interior as well between the linebacker and bringing the receiver in over behind him. His ability to catch the ball is extremely important and he has to be fairly flexible in terms of knowledge and formations in adjusting to a number of positions. He's in the backfield, he's out of the backfield, so the guy has to be pretty good at what he does."
On secondary adjusting to new rules: "Comparatively, I'm not certain that I can make that analysis with any degree of certainty. Any time there is an emphasis on play, it's going to take some adjustment. Particularly, it's pretty drastic from what we've been accustomed to over the last year, getting called now. But the fact of the matter is we have to adjust to those. The rules are in place and they're in place for a reason. What we have to do is make certain that we abide by them, however the rules are set, we have to make certain that we can adjust to them, accordingly. Right now, if you look at the last game, we didn't do too well, we got a few more than we'd like. The first game, we did pretty well in that area, we've got to get back into doing things the way in which we think we're capable of doing."
On if the officials will adjust or if they're trying to make a point: "It's tough for me to view the minds of those who are calling those particular plays. What we have to understand is that's what they're calling right now, so we have to react to that. I don't anticipate any sort of period of leniency once the season gets started. Those things can come up at any time. If you're touching a guy, grabbing a guy, holding him, whatever it is that you're being called for right now, that could happen any time during a game, in a very, very crucial situation. So, we're going to treat this as, ‘that's the way it's going to be called the entire season.'"